IRRESISTIBLE BUSINESS: Influencing Decisions
Not Everyone Has the Context You Do
A few days ago I got another phone call from a person I met several months ago. He said his name and then said,
I’m launching a new product and I’m wondering if you’d like to see a demo.
“What?” was all that I could think of to say.
When he’d called, I’d been knee deep in writing a proposal. I was well into the context of the strategy I was developing and that strategy had no connection to the name or the random question that had just interrupted it.
After an uncomfortable few minutes of asking questions of my own, I managed to find out who the person was and why he was calling me — he wanted to enlist my help. After all, we were connected.
The disconnect in this “connected” thinking is that I can’t help everyone with whom I have a conversation, much as I might be inclined to be the helpful one. My life, my family, my friends, and my landlord demand their own part and parcel of my time. So I can’t stop my own goals to pursue others’ quests just because they ask.
No one can.
It’s hard enough for any one of us to determine where to lend our support to the most noble of quests within the time we have in our lives.
If you’ve got a quest that needs support, help yourself and the people you might ask by being able to tell us the information we might need to make that decision before you ask.
4 Things to Tell Before You Ask
- Lead with relationship and context. Let me know who you are. Your ask or offer will get turned down if it’s bigger than the trust in the relationship. Set the context for your conversation by establishing what that relationship is and why that trust exists. How do I know you? Why are you an expert at what you’re about share?
- Be clear on what you have. Let me know what your quest is. Tell me what exactly you’re talking about. be able to say it in 25 words or less. If you still need paragraphs of detail, you don’t know what it is.
- Connect your me to your quest. Let me know why you’re asking ME and not every turnip that that falls off the truck. Tell me why you’re asking me — why you believe my expertise will be a valued contribution to your success. That will pique my interest in your quest. If you’re asking everyone, you haven’t considered what any one person might offer and that anyone can do what you ask.
- Make helping easy, fast, and meaningful. Let me know how little I have to do to help. the facts. Don’t tell me about your disappointments. Think of what I might expect the product to be and then make sure I know if something in that definition is missing.
Anyone with more than one friend has to find a way to decide which friends to help and when. When you move beyond close connections, it sure helps if the “friends” asking lets us know that they’ve thought enough about their quest to start with trust.
Asking isn’t easy. Saying “no,” isn’t either. But time is the only resource no one has enough of.
Take the time to understand and prepare for the four points above and you’ll save time because you’ll contacting the right people with the information that they need to answer faster with a yes.
How do you make sure you’re ready to ask?
–ME “Liz” Strauss
Work with Liz on your business!!